Often, talk of small scale business for women evokes images of fashion, apparel, and the like. In the case of Divya Arora, it was sweets! The fear of losing the entire heritage of Indian ‘mithai’ making motivated Divya to venture out. Firm on ringing in a new identity for Indian sweets, Divya decided to become an entrepreneur and joined her husband to start Kesar Sweets, a mithai boutique, in Jaipur. Riding on Divya’s sweet tooth for innovation, Kesar today serves the finest sweets, ranging from traditional to exotic, and has happy customers and followers across the globe. In this lip-smacking reveal, Divya gives HerMoneyTalks a taste of what it was like to build Kesar.

Contemplating on a small scale business for women, Divya did not have to search far. As a socially committed woman, Divya realized the sidelined status of Indian sweets on the buffets laid down at some five star hotels and even in some bigger weddings.

Recognizing the need to preserve the luscious delicacies of India, she began to experiment in mithai making by blending authentic flavors with contemporary and international tastes. Divya is married into a family with a strong hold in the food industry for the past three generations. Nonetheless, she traveled across India with her husband to know more about the variety of sweets.

Working for a female boss not everyone’s cup of kheer

Small scale business for women need not necessarily translate into small scale headaches. Establishing  Kesar was an easier task for Divya, with the firm assistance of her husband. But when it came to running the shop, she realized the challenges in managing everything.

“The people around me were not used to the idea of a woman being the boss. This in turn pushed me, to fight against all the hardships that sprung up in between,” says Divya. When she came out with innovations and irresistible newer flavors, the sweet makers resisted. They instead asked for her husband’s opinion.

The people around me were not used to the idea of a woman being the boss. This, in turn, pushed me to fight.

Unwilling to give up on her dream, Divya tried to become a part of her team and learnt about the rich culinary heritage of sweet making. Her remarkable ideas soon motivated her team members to create newer products, and it in turn made Kesar a world-wide brand.

Bitter times shall pass

“Clubbing staff from diverse backgrounds, and uniting their energies to produce the best, was a nerve wracking process initially,” confides Divya. Learning, unlearning, and relearning was a constant process in life, to build her business leadership skills. It soon became evident to her that small scale business for women was no small joke.

The process of convincing the vendors and mithai box manufacturers to make new patterns and boxes for our needs was another meticulous task. They were very resistant to our new ideas.

Divya recounts the mental and physical pressure she had to undergo while breaking through the rigid mindsets of her clients. Unlike her contemporaries, Divya had the courage to create a new menu and convince the people around.

“The process of convincing the vendors and mithai box manufacturers to make new patterns and boxes for our needs was another meticulous task. They were very resistant to our new ideas,” adds Divya.

Honesty is the best delicacy

“If you are genuinely honest with your product, success will be definitely yours,” assures Divya. She opines that the tag of an entrepreneur made her a confident woman by helping overcome her introversion. This in turn sharpened Divya’s communication and negotiation skills, crisis management abilities, and inner strengths.

“Finding working capital was the biggest financial challenge I have experienced as an entrepreneur,” reveals Divya. Maintenance of stock and proper management of orders are indeed stressful, according to her. Being a smart woman, Divya sets an example by efficiently managing her business and taking charge of her financial well-being in parallel.

Her money hacks to make your own sweet box of wealth:

(1) Do not get into EMI traps

(2) Make wise investments from your earnings

(3) Practice regular donation of a portion of income for the betterment of society, as a means to sustain business

Kesar Sweets received the Times Food Awards for the Best Mithai Shop in 2019. Within its first year of inception, it got featured in the Foxlife and Discovery channels on the ‘Twist of Taste’ series run by Master chef Vikas Khanna.

Divya winds up her bitter-sweet story by offering the key to success: “Believe in yourself, work hard, save continuously, and help the needy.” With a doctorate degree in Naturopathy and Yoga under her belt, she also aims to spread spirituality through her life. Life couldn’t be sweeter!